post-Kenya reflections take 1: bread & frugality

They should have had us make bread in highschool chemistry.  If  they had, I may have switched my career path.  Okay, probably not.  But for real, it is so much more interesting to watch reactions you can eat!  Why am I rambling about this?  Well, now that I am home I am trying to incorporate some of the things I thought about in Kenya.  One was to enjoy more the art and worship of cooking.  I started by trying my hand at making homemade honey wheat bread Sunday.  I give myself a B.  It mixed, it rose, but then it burnt.  Argh.  I’ll get better.  I did enjoy this and am inspired to try more recipes.  It was a nice afternoon to bake with worship music and lovely smells wafting about…

People have been asking me how my transition home is going and if I am experiencing any culture shock.  Hmm… How do you answer that quickly?  You can’t.  The truth of it is, the transition is fine but I’m still wrestling.  And it seems weird to admit that because I was only gone for a few weeks, which is not a long period of time.  But there are things to sort through; what I experienced and what is ahead for me.

One thing that is at the forefront of my mind is water.  We always have it in the states and it is clean.  In Kenya, that is not the case.  The water in your US toilet is cleaner {assuming your toilet is perfectly clean!} than the water you get in Kenya.  There is something horribly wrong with that.  They’ve experienced extreme drought with the proof of cattle bones laying on the sides of country road.  Then they experience flooding where people drown in the the night.  The house we stayed at, constantly has low/no water issues.  I got used to showering and washing my hair {in the shower} about every three days.  In between you clean off your skin with a washcloth wet from the sink.  You can’t drink any water from the tap there without it being purified.  So when you brush your teeth, you open the cap of a water bottle slightly and drip a few drops onto your toothbrush.  Doing laundry or washing dishes is not a given when you don’t even know if you have enough water to drink.

Now that I am home, I have so many opportunities to waste our precious gift of water.  I couldn’t even let the sink run while I was rinsing a dish on Saturday because it felt so wasteful.  When I was little, my mom always use to tell us to be frugal with the hot water when taking a shower.  Oh, my poor mom… we always mocked her for that!  {Although I think it was more about the word “frugal” than it was the action she requested!}  While that may have been more about having enough hot water for every family member, my mom was on to something.  And for me now, I realize there is simply no need to use that much water when you have the image of the poor in your mind.  I have always taken water for granted and never viewed it as a gift.  Since I’ve been home I haven’t been able to keep the hot water running for a full shower yet.  I kind of hope I never will.

In John 7 Jesus says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Growing up as an American, I do not know if I will ever be able to grasp the depth of this symbolism because my cultural background is one of plenty and abundance.  I am so thankful for that blessing, but I want more in my life to so desperately crave our Savior as if I were in living in drought or desert.  What a beautiful picture God gives us of the one and only thing that can quench any of us and give us life; His Son.

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